February 25, 2024

Strong El Niño looms in PH from late 2023 to first half of 2024

THE state weather bureau has projected that most parts of the country, including the Calabarzon region, will face reduced rainfall starting in October due to the current moderate El Niño in the tropical Pacific.

According to the Philippine Atmospheric, Geophysical and Astronomical Services Administration (Pagasa), the weather phenomenon is set to become “strong” by the end of 2023 and is likely to lead to below-normal rainfall conditions persisting until next year.

“From January to March 2024, we anticipate the most severe effects of El Niño, with a high probability of below-normal rainfall conditions in most parts of the country. Generally, during the forecast period, we expect the intensity of El Niño to escalate starting this November,” said Ana Liza Solis, Assistant Weather Services Chief of PAGASA-Climate Monitoring and Prediction Section (CLIMPS).

During a climate outlook forum on Wednesday, Solis said that El Niño is ongoing and has a high chance of continuing until the first quarter of 2024, with a probability of more than 70%.

Solis also mentioned that the peak of El Niño will occur between November 2023 and January 2024, potentially resulting in dry spells and droughts in certain areas of the Philippines.

PAGASA’s latest assessment revealed that 28 provinces, including Batangas, Laguna, Rizal, and Quezon, could experience dry spells, while 45 provinces, including Cavite, may face drought conditions by March next year.

Solis emphasized the importance of preparing for this critical period and considering measures to mitigate the impact of El Niño during February, March, April, and May 2024.

In addition, PAGASA indicated that the country can expect four to seven tropical cyclones until the end of the year. The western parts of the country are also projected to experience above-normal rainfall during the Southwest monsoon (Habagat) season.

The Department of Agriculture in Calabarzon has already taken proactive steps such as providing farm implements like seeds, planting materials, fertilizers, and soil ameliorants to affected farmers. The member agencies of the Regional Disaster Risk Reduction and Management Council Calabarzon are also on high alert and implementing measures to mitigate the impact of El Niño in the region.

To address the potential effects of the dry season, President Ferdinand R. Marcos Jr. established an El Niño team in April, composed of various government agencies. The team is responsible for implementing measures to mitigate the impact of El Niño on the economy, natural resources, environment, climate change, disaster response, and peace and order.PIA4A